Pagan ties to Catholic Saints?

Actually, my Aunt passed away at 99 and I believe she is in heaven, because she prayed to Jesus. She believed, and so do I, that Jesus is one with God, and is, God.
The saints can ask Jesus to help us, just as we ask people on earth to pray for us.
It’s done all the time here on CAF.
How much more effective is the request of a canonized saint by the Catholic Church!

The lawyer comparsion is actually very on the mark with the idea of the intercession of the saints. Catechesis could be better, I agree. Families, in particular, need to sit down together and crack open a Bible. As a convert you are probably more engaged and interested in these topics than many cradle Catholics (not everyone, of course!).

Ultimately, though, these things aren’t in true competition. We are one Catholic Church, and that includes all the angels and saints and those in purgatory. Those in Heaven pray for us. It’s okay to build relationships with them as they point to Christ, and their lives and conversions can be very inspiring, as people born only human and into sin like us. It’s just wrongheaded to think a mere thing like death can cut us off as a church from those more alive than us in Heaven. Every mass, we celebrate with them and all the angels. There, heaven and earth touch.

Maccabbees 2 has some saintly intercession in it. Anyway, if the “only one mediator” comment holds in the sense you are using it, then it’s just as wrong to ask those alive on earth for their prayers as the saints. It’s the same thing. Actually, in a way, it’s not. The saints are more alive and removed from sin and closer to God than we are.

Yes, it is somewhat similar to the Pagan idea of a god or goddess for a particular thing (Brid/Bridget for smithcraft, poetry, and healing - she is a triple goddess – and say, Epona for equestrian, etc. ).

It’s one of the ways a lot of Pagans will explain the idea of multiple gods and goddesses, i.e. similar to the concept of a patron saint in Christianity.

In many practices, these various deities are simply aspects of the god and goddess; who in turn are the two aspects of the one Creator/All.

The concept though similar is not really the same – I think to equate the two is erroneous, but understandable why it’s frequently done, based on the seeming similarity. Saints are venerated, Pagan deities are worshiped.

Their textbooks are full of Biblical texts.
Again, you might ought to meet with your DRE to discern if your concerns are just assumptions.
Are the catechists certified at your parish?
What is the certification process in your Diocese?
Is your Formation program certified by the Diocese? How many hours of instruction are they required to offer the children annually?
These are the things you should be concerned about.
The Church has MANY guidelines in place to ensure proper catechesis.

The more time I spend here at CA the more I am growing to love it, and the community. I came in to the Church in a challenging parish that seems to be in need of help.

I also need to remember that not that long ago I was one of the people I seem to complain about now!

(actually - still in need of a lot of help, but now I know where to look:))

I got to communicate with a friend that was going to be a priest (and he may yet). What I understood is the practice of saints did not start with paganism, but did take a detour that direction as Christianity spread. I don’t have direct access to his message right now, but what I got was not that it never happened that a pagan god was supplemented by a saint for the same idea.

It may have not started there, and it’s not where we are today, but was it done some during the spread of Christianity? Does anyone else have an insight?

This largely comes down to ones view of the Kingdom of God. If one is to view a literal 1000 year rule on earth by Jesus Christ in the future then the Kingdom of God has not come. Then Revelation 20:4 where saints REIGN WITH CHRIST as PRIESTS interceding for the mere mortal population is something those who reject the intercession of Saints are actually ironically looking forward to doing in the age to come.

Instead if one views Jesus Christ to be the FIRST Resurrection and those who partake in that FIRST Resurrection, and who view Jesus Christ as a King with a Kingdom then Revelation 20:4 where saints REIGN WITH CHRIST as PRIESTS interceding for the mere mortal population is something that has been happening for 2000 years.

If one views Saints as merely DEAD people compared to us LIVING people, then we are probably theologically going down the path of soul-sleep.

First of all then I urge that supplications prayers intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men.

I think I am understanding that Catholic teaching is that those who “die” are not dead, but actually more alive than those of us still here, and we are connected to the Church in Heaven, not separated. Is this one of those teachings that is tradition? Catholic faith being Bible plus tradition.

I don’t know if Sola Scriptura let’s you reach that conclusion (one of the reasons I won’t go back to the Baptist church). Protestants seem to look at things thru a paradigm of worldly limits, and apply them to the spiritual, where they don’t belong - just seeing that now.

Right, Christ has one body…not one body here and another in heaven. This is correct understanding of the communion of saints. The protestant version splits up his body in order to fit their theology

Well, this may not be exactly what you mean, but in Saint Augustine and Saint Monica’s hometown in Africa, it was commom to leave a little offering in a saint’s shrine. Saint Augustine tutored under Saint Ambrose, and in his Confessions he writes about that. Apparently, Ambrose corrected Monica on the issue, telling her not to leave offerrings, and she immediately dropped the custom.

But sure, I’ve no doubt that some localities didn’t understand the communion of saints in the correct way, even if they still did view them as lesser than God.

Revelation 8:3

It would be on the onus of Sola Scriptura to present evidence that the Church Militant and Church Triumphant are not the unified One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Is there a verse that makes the emphatic statement against the Catholic tradition? The answer is no, though many try using non-applicable verses to support their resolve eg Isaiah 8:19. Consult direction from God through the Urim and Thummim. The yes stone the no stone.

Since Sola Scriptura is unable to support a conclusion against the Catholic tradition (though there are sufficient evidences to support the Catholic tradition) I would conclude that the position held against the Catholic position does not come from Sola Scriptura it comes from somewhere else.

Re: St. Brigit and the goddess Brigit –

Actually, that’s a good example of misunderstanding the relationship between Irish saint and Irish memories of pagandom.

St. Brigit is an extremely famous saint, and she founded the extremely wealthy, powerful, and learned monastery of Kildare (Cill Dara), with its double houses of monks and nuns, its incredibly big cathedral (for early medieval times, and for Ireland), which was made of nothing but wood. Cill Dara’s library, lost to us now, was unsurpassed except perhaps by its facilities for the copying and distribution of books.

Cill Dara’s influence was great; its histories and legends spread the idea that it is equal to St. Patrick’s primacy, and perhaps even superior to the Irish primate’s see in Armagh. Its abbess had many of the powers of a bishop, and just as the great Irish monasteries were headed by abbots who had many bishops under them, the abbess had many bishops as her subordinates, too.)

Cill Dara was an empty, wild, worthless place until St. Brigit arrived and made it useful and beautiful. And this is typical of late Roman Empire and early medieval monks and nuns, because they were always setting up monasteries in empty wilderness places that weren’t very attractive to humans, or good for hunting or raising animals. Irish lords and clans could be generous, but nobody was going to give away a good piece of land to weird experimenting Christian women.

The goddess Brigit, on the other hand, is pretty much a non-entity. The monks and nuns of Cill Dara seem to have tried hard to find legends and stories that involved their saint’s namesake, because they were scholars and that was what they did. But there just wasn’t much material.

The biggest thing the goddess Brigit (who was one of the Tuatha De Danaan, a latecomer ethnic group of gods) did was to be married off to Bres the Beautiful (one of the Fomor, the previous ethnic group of gods) who was elected king of Ireland, ruling both the Fomor and the De Danaan, because he looked good, like a king should. It turned out that Bres was actually a giant jerk, whose horrible inhospitable behavior and lack of generous giftgiving made him cursed by poets and by the land itself. Ireland’s ground refused to produce any food while he was king.

Meanwhile, Brigit tried ineffectively to get Bres to change or for people not to inflict curses on him.

Bres and Brigit had a son named Ruadan, who ended up being killed (in one of the big battles between the Fomor and the Tuatha De Danaan) by his own uncle on Brigid’s side, the smith god Goibhniu. (This story seems to borrow a lot from the Welsh story of Dylan ap Ton, who was killed by his uncle, the smith god Govannon.) I seem to recall that there’s also a lament poem included in some versions, which has Brigit mourning Ruadan. (A lot of Irish epic stories include famous poems from the POV of the characters, sort of like musicals include songs giving characters’ feelings.)

There’s also a very brief, very dubious monkish comment claiming that the name Brigit comes from breo (fire) + saighitta (a term borrowed from Greek, and meaning arrow), and that she was a goddess of smithcraft, war, and poetry. But she doesn’t do any warring in the Fomor vs. De Danaan stories that we have, she doesn’t do any smithing (although her brother Goibhniu does), and her only involvement with poetry is that lament for her son.

There are also a few people who claim that the cursed sons of Tuirenn were his sons by Brigit, although mostly they say it was Dana. Anyway, all three sons of Tuirenn were nasty customers who deserved their horrible epic fate. So it doesn’t say much for Brigit if she was their mom.

Meanwhile… there are all sorts of legends about St. Brigit. It used to be thought that the more legendary or mythic-seeming stories about her were all Celtic goddess motifs, but actually they tend to use a lot of the same motifs as Greek, Roman, or Coptic saint stories, most of them about male hermits, male monks, male bishops, or male abbots. The basic point (if you would have asked the monks and nuns at Cill Dara) was that St. Brigit in Ireland was just as holy as any desert monk in Egypt.

Yeah, I was shocked to find out that the “hanging a cloak on a sunbeam” thing was early Christian and Greek. But there you go. We make assumptions and they come back on us.

The other big difference between St. Brigit and the goddess Brigit is that St. Brigit was a slave who became extremely powerful, while the goddess Brigit started as a queen but never had any influence at all.

St. Brigit was a slave, the daughter of a slavewoman who was impregnated by the not rich, not powerful king of a small clan in Leinster. Legend tells us that she was always extremely generous to those who needed it, even before she was a Christian – and since she didn’t own hardly anything herself, that meant that she was giving away her lord and father’s property, when she was his property herself.

Upon becoming Christian, she almost immediately decided to become a nun, and seems to have traveled to get saintly approval from somebody well-known in Ireland. (Mind you, she was still a slave at this point. She just didn’t seem to pay attention to that.) She was also continuing to give away everything, while starting to do slightly scary miracles. In reaction to all the weirdness, her father freed her, gave her land to be a nun on (or helped her get some from some richer clan), and stayed the heck away.

In ancient and early medieval Ireland, you could buy yourself out of slavery or be freed, but otherwise you were a member of a caste that had very few rights. St. Patrick the ex-slave, and St. Brigit the freed slave, were in-your-face examples of how different the Christian view of life was from the pagan one.

Naturally the goddess Brigit was of the highest birth and status on both sides; she was never a slave. But while there are many stories of high-tempered, high-handed Irish queens, and many other stories of wise and gentle Irish queens who got stuff done, the whole story of the goddess Brigit is of somebody ineffective and powerless, even when her own husband is hurting her own family and friends.

Meanwhile, the saint is called Brigit Buadach, which means Victorious Brigit.

So yeah, it’s like if there was St. Schmo the Awesome, and then there was Schmo, the pitiful excuse for a god. It may have been a little embarrassing to the poor nuns that their founder’s namesake was such a non-entity in legend and lore. But maybe that was the point – slaveowners named slaves after somebody legendary who never got uppity, instead of giving them names like Medb.

I don’t usually quote myself, but this citation from Timothy just so happens also to be this Sundays reading (which I found out this morning). It was purely coincidental and unexpected but also very pleasant to listen to. :slight_smile:

Those who are in heaven with Christ are alive. They’re more alive than we are. Or do you think that death exists in heaven?

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